Combat effectiveness in the infantry platoon: beyond the primary group thesis
Routledge (Taylor and Francis)
Reason for embargo
Since 2001, western troops have been heavily engaged in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan raising once again the long-standing question of why small groups of soldiers are willing and able to fight together. Drawing on evidence from recent campaigns, and specifically focusing on American and British forces, this paper examines why small western units have generally been effective in combat. Against the primary group thesis, originally proposed by Morris Janowitz and Edward Shils in 1948, the article claims that training and battle-drills, not interpersonal relations, are the primary factor in generating performance on the battlefield. Moreover, high levels of training alters the relations between soldiers, giving rise to a core group which generates distinctive patterns of motivation.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Taylor & Francis (Routledge) via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 25 (4), pp. 699-728